The Adventure of the Speckled Band

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Adventure of the Speckled Band Themes

Themes and Colors
Exoticism Theme Icon
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Exoticism

In “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” Sherlock Holmes solves a case in which the villain and the murder weapon have ties to India. The story is set in Victorian England, a period when the British empire was expanding its colonial reach around the world, and Doyle’s conflation of India with the sinister shows the anxiety of white Britons about the foreignness and otherness that came into their lives as a result of living in…

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Greed, Desperation, and Decline

The murder in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” takes place in a crumbling and isolated manor belonging to the once-noble Roylott family whose wealth is now gone. Although he is destitute, Dr. Roylott—the last remaining member of the Roylott family—still feels entitled to the life of an aristocrat in which he lives well without working. His greed leads him to murder one of his stepdaughters, Julia, and attempt to murder the other…

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Isolation and Powerlessness

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is one of only four Sherlock Holmes stories that can be classified as a “locked-room mystery,” where a crime is committed in a closed-off and seemingly impenetrable room. The apparent isolation of the crime scene mirrors the setting and the lives of the story’s characters, who live together in a crumbling mansion without much contact with one another or with the outside world. However, the story distinguishes between true…

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Fate and Justice

One of the overarching ideas of most Sherlock Holmes stories, including “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” is that justice and goodness must triumph over evil and injustice. Doyle’s stories depict a straightforward division between good and evil, in which characters are generally not nuanced blends of both characteristics, but rather embodiments of either extreme. Through the triumph of the eminently good Holmes and Watson over the evil Dr. Roylott, Doyle suggests that justice…

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